Theo Thimou, Clark.com
Looks like the Big 4 wireless carriers may soon become the Big 3 if T-Mobile and Sprint have their way.
After four years of sporadic talks, the two wireless carriers have reached an agreement on a $26 billion merger.
With a combined 127 million customers, the merged entity would be able to give wireless competitors like AT&T and Verizon — the other members of the Big 4 — a real run for their money.
But there are some major regulatory hurdles to clear first.
Will federal regulators really allows four competitors to go down to three? Only time will tell. For now, here’s what we know about the proposed merger…
A look at the T-Mobile and Sprint deal
Here’s what it would mean to you as a consumer…
Introducing “The New T-Mobile”
The combined entity would be called “The New T-Mobile” and be led by T-Mobile chief John Legere as CEO, according to this press release.
There would be two headquarters: One in Bellevue, Washington, where T-Mobile is currently headquartered, and a second headquarters in Sprint’s home of Overland Park, Kansas.
Launching a 5G Network would be a priority
When it comes to launching a 5G network, The New T-Mobile says it will be stronger and more capable with Sprint on board than without it.
“The new company will be able to light up a broad and deep 5G network faster than either company could separately,” the press release noted.
That will mean delivering 15x faster speeds on average nationwide by 2024; in addition, many customers will enjoy up 10 100x faster speeds that early 4G offered.
Rural and broadband customers should get cheaper prices and more choice
The New T-Mobile promises “hundreds of new stores in rural communities,” where residents have traditionally had access to only one or at most two options for wireless, broadband and or cable.
Ditto for broadband customers all across the country — 51% of whom only have one high-speed option right now.
“The combined company will create a viable alternative for millions by enabling mobile connections that rival broadband, driving prices lower and improving service,” according to the press release.
The merger will create more jobs
In addition to the new stores that will open in rural America, The New T-Mobile will be a job-creation engine on a number of other fronts.
T-Mobile and Sprint plan to invest up to $40 billion in a new network during the first three years post-merger. That’s an increase in network spending of 46% versus what both companies spent on their respective networks during the last three years.
The two companies note they’ll hit the ground running with 200,000 people on the payroll. Furthermore, The New T-Mobile says it will employ more people as a single entity than either Sprint or T-Mobile would separately.
Three million new U.S. jobs are expected to come out of the 5G boom, which should lead to $500 billion in economic growth by 2024. That’s according to a new report from wireless industry trade group CTIA.
Clark’s take on the proposed merger
Money expert Clark Howard sees both positives and negatives to the planned merger.
“We will lose the benefit of having four national wireless companies, which has meant higher prices in other countries that went from four providers to three,” Clark say, noting that’s contrary to what The New T-Mobile says will happen.
But there’s always a silver lining in Clark’s world.
“On the good side, 5G and ultra-fast data networks will happen quicker.”